Marriage. There is a saying in Akan parlance, "awaree ware ". To wit marriage is a long journey. Against the admonition, couples in union are expected to remain together until death.
However, marriage itself is like life, once one is born, they can’t avoid death. In marriage, divorce maybe inescapable. Even some people have penchant for divorce. They are more willing to divorce. Their marriage always follows a multiple decrement fashion. They marry. They divorce. And remarry. You may know when their next divorce would be. And you could even predict the next marriage.
Per my experience, I could think of “Atiamah”, “Akupoka” and “Asaalama” in matters of marriage and divorce. Atiamah’s own was exemplary. She was a notorious criminal in marriage and divorce. She married more than ten times. But the number of times she broke away from any near marriage relationship double the marriage rate. There is evidence of her marrying twice within two weeks but divorcing more than three times within the period.
Akupoka on the other hand could marry and break-up the following day. Later, the community could not take her serious any time she was remarrying. One time, she got married. Broke up with the husband. Came to stay in the parent home. Three days later, she “produced” another husband.
Asaalama was in her own league of returned divorcees. Anytime she fought or have any misunderstanding with her husband, she leaves the home. She is notorious for nagging. One time she left home under the pretext that the husband cheats. She only came back at the behest of the husband’s friends. Unknown to her, there was a new “side chick” in the marriage that would later plan a coup for subsequent takeover. Within the family, there were elks who harboured reservations for Asaalama’s return after her first divorce with the fear that she could be disruptive and a loose cannon.
Last week, specifically, 25th September,2023, both mainstream and social media in Ghana were awash with news of Alan Kyerematen’s “divorce” with her “husband”-the New Patriotic Party. The reasons for his divorce were comprehensively stated in his divorce letter to the ex-husband which was presented during a ceremony to announce his new matrimony-the New Movement for Change. The reasons are not so much away from the usual reasons that lead to political divorces in Ghana. Intimidation. Harassment. Sidelining. Hijacking. Undermining. Unfair treatment. If you were thinking corruption is one of the reasons why politicians in this kingdom divorce their parties then you must have been someone who have just arrived from the moon some few hours ago. These are near “occultic” societies and once you are a member, you are under sacred oath not to declare that the group is corrupt when you part ways. So, to be charitable, in place of corruption you may find monetization. Take it.
To digress, our politico-historians and social media pundits have told us that, political divorce is nothing too new in Ghana’s democratic journey. The date back to the days of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) which was metamorphosed from the Aborigines Rights Protection Society. The UGCC came into existence in 1947. Kwame Nkrumah, who got “married” to the group through the recommendation of Ako Adjei, would later divorce the UGCC due to politico-marital disagreements. He remarried to the CPP in 1949 and would later lead Ghana, “if not Africa”, to independence in 1957. So, the concept of political divorce and remarriage began in the 1940s, even though, others occurred earlier.
However, the beginning of the most recent politico-divorces in the country is traced to the 1970s. In 1979, William Offori Atta divorced with the Popular Front Party (PFP)-the grandchild of the UGCC whom Offori Atta was in previous relationship before the party demised. Offori Atta’s new husband became the United National Convention (UNC) in the same year.
In 1992, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, who has his first political child- the National Convention Party (NCP), got married to the National Democratic Congress with his NCP.
In 1996, however, Arkaah divorced the NDC. And like every mother and her child, Arkaah remarry to the Convention People’s Party while carrying along the NCP.
In 1999, Augustu “Goosie”Obuadum Tanoh, divorced with the NDC and married a new partner, the National Reform Party. Similarly, in the year 2000, Wereko Brobbey, who was married to the New Patriotic Party-the grand child of the PFP born in 1992, divorced and remarry to the United Ghana Movement (UGM). Before Ghana’s election 2008, Obed Yao Asamoah, in a similar fashion, divorced with the NDC and remarry to the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP).
Paa Kwesi Nduom had his second politico-matrimonial ceremony in January 2012 with his new partner, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP). Before 2012, he was the legal “political wife” of the Convention People’s Party (CPP). He even represented the party in the 2008 elections in Ghana.
Similarly, in 2012, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings broke away from the NDC and joined the new partner, the National Democratic Party (NDP). She was married to the NDC for many years. Similarly, before 2016, Hassan Ayariga was already married to the People’s National Convention (PNC) whom he represented in a “democratic beauty pageant” in December 2012. However, in 2016, he divorced the previous partner and remarry to the All People’s Congress (APC).
Long tale. Isn’t it? So, let me pause here and make my point. But before anything else is said again, I admit that, I am not a political historian and do not have the expertise to account for all the political divorcees in Ghana’s democratic journey. I however, provided these few antecedents to back the claims made in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.”
So, the news that Alan has divorced the NPP and remarry a New Movement for Change is entirely not news. It isn’t a shock. Yes. This is a second divorce if not third, fourth or fifth. It was a shock in 2008 when he exited from the party. But now, no. The only shock is the man himself. Eyes on the presidency on the back of a butterfly. Career ruined? Buffoonery? Wild goose chase?
I agree with the opinion of Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy in his article: “The need for a National Movement”. I agree intoto with him, that there is a need for a new movement in Ghana. Where I depart from him is his wildest imagination that there could be a Thomas Yayi Boni example in Nkrumah’s Ghana. Damned it. Naivety or ill-advice? A man like Arthur Kennedy who got one vote out of two thousand, two hundred and eighty-five (1 vote out of 2285) NPP delegates should know it better that it is extremely difficult if not impossible to have an independent candidate win elections in Ghana just as Boni did in 2006 in Benin. In any case, Benin’s population in 2006 was a little shy above 8 million. To bring this into context, Greater Accra and Greater Ashanti region will equal these numbers. So, Ghana’s case is different in many ways and lenses.
Alan’s hope for the presidency is not just to fly like a butterfly into Ghana’s jubilee house-the seat of the President. But to be the president Ghanaian’s have elected to stay in the jubilee house. Dear reader, I must state here that I got the spelling of jubilee house correct. It is j-u-b-i-l-e-e. I repeat j-u-b-i-l-e-e. I am cautioning you the reader so that you don’t confuse this word in my article in case you come across another one which is spelt, j-u-l-o-r-b-i house. The two are not related. But the latter has dominated the media space in Ghana in recent days. I am told the word is related to theft. A friend of mine who speaks Ga, told me it is a Ga phrase translated as “a son of a thief”. Within the social and online media space, that word has overtaken the word corruption. But I have no idea why it is gaining so much currency in my country’s media space. Well, paronomasia exist.
Back to Alan’s goal to make Ghana rise again. Following his withdrawal from the party presidential primaries and resignation from the party, there is one thing that he has let out of the bag-Ghana is “sick” if not dead. Well, we all know the situation anyway. A loaf bread at my area which used to be Ghc5 is now Ghc18. A bag of cement is now Ghc100. Yoghurt used to be Ghc1, it is now Ghc 3. I use to pay Ghc5 for haircut. Now even with my bald, I pay between GhC15 to Ghc30 per cut. Because of my frequent need to barber and the increasing cost of barbering services, I have considered to enrol into an apprenticeship so I could have my own haircut. Fuel. Water bill. Electricity. Lorry fares. They have all witnessed significant growth. Except Salaries. So, when Alan talks about making Ghana rise again, many people may not find it difficult to comprehend. They live the situation every day.
So, Alan wants to make Ghana rise again. He has a Constituency. The youth. He hopes to galvanise support from the youth. He believes he has massive support and activists from the grassroot. He believes he has the vision, competency and integrity to drive the movement to change Ghana.
Unfortunately, the unique vulnerability of his constituents-the youth, rather presents a threat to his chances of going into the presidency through a butterfly just as the route through the elephant was difficult for him. No where is cool.
The youth are vulnerable due to the pervasive employment crisis as alluded by Alan. Given the current circumstance and given the “size” of an elephant, it could attract and sway a significant proportion of Alan’s constituency to itself at the mercy of a poor butterfly. Of course, these are two incomparable creatures of God. A butterfly may symbolize strength, endurance, spirituality, and trust. But it may mean nothing to a man dying of hunger. Given an elephant to a man dying hunger, he has two things do. One, slaughter the elephant and its meat use to nourish his soul as was the days of the stone age. Two, sell the elephant and the proceed is use to purchase food. It itches me to ask the question; what will a butterfly do in this scenario?
Sociologist Professor, David Poponoe wrote profoundly about ten myths about divorce and I wish to quote my favorite one: “divorce may cause problems for many of the children who are affected by it, but by and large these problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly.”
Children of a divorcee, after sometime adjust, adopt and adapt to their present circumstances. They may live and forget that their parent who is now absent was once part and integral to their lives. They could only have fond memories if the absentee parent after the divorce is lucky. Loyalty. Trust. Support. And all to the former parent would be lost. Most marriages do not end in divorce when children are involved because those couples avoided so “for the sake of the children” as Demographer, Tim Heaton pointed out in the 1990s.
That’s why many holds the opinion that, Alan should have stayed despite the “adversaries”. Alan should have stayed for the sake of the million children he has in the party. But he chose to leave. The unfortunate thing is that due their vulnerability, children easily flip their loyalty. They easily give up their support to whom they trust can give them bread now. Not bread in the future. Now.
At least the marshmallow experiment among the German and Cameroonian kids in the 1960s has taught humanity that children lack self-control to delay gratification. Like the kids in the marshmallow experiment, most youth today, wish to eat the treat now, rather than a trust for two treats that aren’t guaranteed. The majority of the youth in most part of the world today thinks about-the-now. They simply don’t want to think about the tomorrow’s bread especially when the tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. And so, loyalty is dead.
Another reason which may make Alan second marriage not successful is that although divorce is painful to both parties involved, it may not be too painful to man in a polygamous marriage. Like the case of Asaalama’s co-wife (mentioned in earlier paragraphs), Mahamudu Bamumia, who has been accused of being a stranger in the party by Alan and others, has matured and mastered the game. Although, he has been accused to have married to the party in recent years, he is like Asaalama’s husband’s side chick. He could eventually takeover. Well, early age at first marriage is known to be associated with a high risk of divorce and Alan could have been a victim of this. It is obviously clear that in the absence of Alan in the party, the party may not truly feel his absence even though he has been married to it long ago before the arrival of the new wife.
There are five key management principles toward achieving business success when borrow into the current context, they do not go in Alan’s favour. They are called the five M’s. Men. Money. Method. Machines. And Material. At any given point in time, three or more of these M’s remained a major nightmare to Alan’s butterfly. If he has the right method to deliver his messages, he may not have the material and machines and the men and the money to deliver them to the Ghanaian voter. Truly, one thing is clear, most of Alan’s men have coiled into their shells after his divorce. Another thing is also clear, Alan is not the Cashman we knew in 2008. He doesn’t have the machines either. Lawyer Ace Ankomah got it right in his 12 points reasons why it is impossible for an independent presidential candidate to win and rule Ghana. In the end, Alan’s remarriage could just be a slapstick on the back of an elephant in its effort to break an eight amidst pervasive employment crisis.
Writer: David Adumbire
Contact: [email protected]
Address: House No. EFB 28, Sirigu, Bugsongo.